Lina Bonda Creative Arts, located in Kingston, MA, is a full-service photographer, videographer, content creator and MORE. We interviewed the gal behind the camera to get to know her and to find out her best tips and tricks when it comes to preparing your family for a photo shoot. Read her answers below!
Where on the South Shore do you live? How long have you lived in the South Shore area?
Whenever someone asks me where I’m from, I let them know it’s a bit of a trick question haha I was actually adopted from Lithuania when I was just a baby and grew up in Cleveland until around 2001 when my family moved to Kingston, where I still live! I have so much love for all three places.
What is your favorite thing about living here?
There is such a strong sense of pride in our community here. People here are so quick to help their neighbors and be proud of where we live and why wouldn’t we be?? We are so lucky to live here! We have access to Boston, all the beaches, Cape Cod summers, the fall foliage in the Berkshires and all the landscapes in between. Not to mention all of the history Massachusetts has to offer. There’s no other place like it and it’ll forever be my home.
How long have you been photographing? What caught your interest for the hobby turned career?
I’ve always been a creative person, but I can remember really getting into photography in high school. When my parents realized my interest was only growing, they got me my first DSLR Camera (a Nikon D5100) for Christmas my senior year. I brought that thing with me everywhere!!! It was such an upgrade from my previous little digital camera (Cue myspace mirror pics anyone??). When I went off to Umass Amherst for college, I ended up taking various communications and film classes where I fell even more in love. I quickly declared communications as my major and immersed myself in as many classes on the topic as I could find! After I finished school, I moved back to Kingston where I started my photography business and the rest is history!
We’ve noticed that you specialize in various other arts other than photography, can you elaborate on this? What additional services do you offer?
Yes absolutely! I’m someone who loves to stay busy and dabble in all things creative so I wanted to offer a few other services where I could utilize my talents. Aside from photography and videography, I also offer content creation & blogger branding. So if there are any blogger moms who are reading this, this might be perfect for you!! I work with influencers and bloggers to create custom package options that focus on your specific needs. For some people, that’s keeping up with taking enough professional photos. For others, maybe it’s help organizing the photos and which order to post them or even help working on captions. I also offer custom presets and outsourced editing. A custom preset is essentially a custom “filter” in Lightroom to edit your photos with to keep your brand and look consistent. Outsourced editing is a great option for other photographers who have so much to edit and want to offload some of that work. Another service I offer is invitation designs. I love playing around and coming up with unique birthday, save the date and even wedding invitations! If you have an idea, I can bring it to life! I also offer great quality prints, canvases, albums and one of a kind polaroids! So if you have a digital image that you would like printed out on a polaroid, let me know!! I have some special equipment that prints them. I have them hanging all around my workspace – they’re so fun and different!
Do you find photography or videography easier? What are the challenges of each?
I wouldn’t necessary say one of them is easier, they’re just different in their own ways. Videography definitely takes me longer because I don’t get the chance to play around with it as much as photography, but I really enjoy them both. Later on in college, a lot of my classes were actually videography and live studio specific. It was a lot of fun!! I love looking up different editing tutorials and things like that so I can put them to the test. It’s so satisfying learning the latest techniques and people are always coming up with something new to try! I’ve learned that both photography and videography are always evolving.
Have you always been creative? We’d love to hear a childhood story!
Oh my gosh. Yes! Haha When I was reaaaally young, I was really into drawing and I thought I was going to be the world’s next Picasso. Looking back on my pictures now, it just makes me laugh. It’s a typical 5 year old’s drawing, you know? But I thought I was so good. So I remember this one time, I made an entire illustration book on how I thought my life was going to play out. I wrote the whole thing about living on a farm with my husband and 10 kids haha. I then got super into singing and dancing. I was the next Britney Spears and you couldn’t tell me otherwise. Two of my cousins would come over all the time when we lived in Cleveland and we would play dress up and come up with these crazy choreographed dances and put on shows for our parents. Our poor parents haha. My favorite story though is probably when I thought I was going to be a hair dresser. I had this play hair dresser station and my two cousins came over to hang out and use it. I guess I decided the pretend one wasn’t enough, broke out some real scissors and chopped off half my cousin’s hair. So sorry Josie!! My aunt was not happy haha.
10 kids – bless you! What makes you so passionate about shooting for people? We want to know your favorite parts.
When you think about it, at the end of the day, what we have is our memories together. I love that I get to help couples and families make special memories from that time period in their life and my goal is for them to look back at those photos in 5, 10, 20 years and have it instantly put huge smile on their face thinking about it. Strangers turn into clients and clients turn into treasured friends. It’s so fun for me to watch the kids and families grow over the years. I truly feel like I am a part of your family and really want to capture those precious moments for you, maybe ones you didn’t even realize you wanted captured. I also love letting people see themselves in a new light and giving them a bit of self love!
We love that you offer “mini shoots”. Aside from the holidays, do you have any plans for unique, fun shoots coming up that South Shore moms might find interest in?
Yes! I obviously have my ‘Christmas Sleigh Minis’ coming up for couples & families and then not everyone knows this, but I specialize in boudoir!! I love helping mamas feel beautiful and giving them get a full day of pampering. It’s a complete luxury experience that you so deserve it!!! I host one special for boudoir a year and this year is Christmas themed! If that’s something that interests you, please reach out to me. I am also so excited about my ‘Mommy & Me’ minis that I’ll be doing this Spring!! Think lots of greenery, a beautiful peacock chair and boho vibes. I can’t wait for those – definitely keep an eye out for that announcement!!
Do you focus more on portraits or candid images, or a mix of the two? In other words, what is your photography style?
I like to get a nice mix of both. While I do some posed portraits, I really love getting candids and will usually give prompts to do with your partner or kids rather than just shouting out a stiff pose. I really strive for natural, lifestyle images that don’t look too posed.
My go to is my Nikon D7100. I recently just got a new lense too (Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8) and it’s been an absolute game changer!! I’m so in love.
What would you say is the best weather to shoot in? Best time of day?
I absolutely live for golden hour which is a little after sunrise or a little before sunset. It definitely provides the best lighting! I used to be terrified of shooting in anything other than nice, sunny weather but that has long since changed! I’ve shot in overcast, rain, fog and everything in between. The trick is learning to adapt to different kinds of lighting and weather. My all time dream weather is either golden hour before sunset with a clear sky or a foggy morning after sunrise.
Do you have any secrets for getting little ones to cooperate or smile?
I’ll usually send a little questionnaire out for first time clients to get a feel for the kids personalities before and how I can get them to cooperate. I know it also sounds too simple to be true, but a lot of time, if the kids want to run around and play, that’s exactly what we let them do! It’s a win-win-win. They use up some that energy for a few minutes, we get some cute candids and they are usually easier to get to smile after when they are actually having fun!
Any tips for tired moms to look more awake during photo shoots? (Concealer with or without a powder, the cold spoon trick, etc.)
Some moms get their hair and makeup professionally done which always adds an extra level to the photos, but I also understand not everyone has room for that in their budget. I find that concealer with some powder never hurts, but honestly, it’s all about your mentality going into it! If you feel tired, you’re going to look tired. So the best thing I always recommend is planning the outfits out in advance (this means trying them on and making sure they feel good before too!), getting a good nights sleep the previous night and giving yourself plenty of time to get the location (take the morning/day off if you can!) so you don’t arrive feeling tired, grouchy and frazzled. If you’re having fun and feeling good, it’s going to show in the photos!
What is something you never leave the house without?
Professionally – a spare battery and extra memory cards!!
Personally – chapstick, extra Zyrtec and a couple scrunchies
First three things you do every morning?
Check my messages, get showered and dressed, grab a coffee before diving into some work. I’m definitely an early bird and find myself more productive in the mornings so I try to take advantage of that and unwind later at night!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Just want to say thank you so much for this feature, I’m so looking forward to connecting with some new South Shore families!!
Thank you so much for your time, Lina! Where can our community reach you?
Lina Bonda Creative Arts